Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch) Review

Completing the Switch Trifecta

The Nintendo Switch has had quite the launch year, with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey leading an impressive array of games. Nintendo and developer Monolith Soft aim to finish the year strong with their massive RPG adventure, Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Though branded as a sequel, its story stands alone from the previous Xenoblade titles. While it shares similarities with its predecessors, its modified combat system and anime-inspired artstyle set it apart.

 

Check out the Video Version for spoiler-free footage and gameplay!
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Panda’s Picks: 10 Anticipated Switch Games

Joy-Cons to the World!

The time has come! The Nintendo Switch will finally launch this Friday, and gamers worldwide will soon play with their shiny new console/handheld hybrid. I’ve already detailed why I’m excited for the Switch as well as my impressions from Nintendo’s January presentation. Now I’m turning my attention to the most important part of any console: the games. Here are my top 10 most anticipated Switch games!

10. Arms

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Ouch. That’s gotta hurt.

I wasn’t initially keen on Nintendo’s upcoming motion controlled fighting game, Arms. But the more I learned about it, the more I wanted the game in my… arms. This game may look like Wii Boxing, but the characters’ arms extend to hit their opponents, similarly to Mr. Fantastic. Consequently, it’s more reliant on solid punches rather than frantic arm-waving. Although I’m not the biggest fan of motion control, I’m interested in seeing how the Joy-Cons’ improved gyro affect Arms’ gameplay. I’m also intrigued by the controller’s HD Rumble functionality, which allows for sensations within the Joy-Con.

9. Runner3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nindies Showcase announced a hefty lineup of indie games launching this year for the Switch. Among those, one title that caught my eye was Choice Provision’s Switch-exclusive Runner3. The first two autorunner games were the best parts of the Bit.Trip series, and I enjoyed them more than Super Mario Run. Funnily enough, the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, contributed his vocal talent to the second entry. Nevertheless, Runner3 will surpass those on the graphical level with its incredible dynamic camera angles and jaw-dropping artstyles. Runner3 looks to be a visual tour de force, and I’m looking forward to hopping to the beat with Commander Video soon.

8. Splatoon 2

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Stay fresh!

I enjoyed the ink-splatting turf wars of Wii U’s Splatoon, but I didn’t get the GamePad’s motion controls. Though that was the way to play, I felt they were unresponsive and instead played with the analog controls. Splatoon 2 promises better gyro aiming thanks to its upgraded Joy-Con and Pro Controllers, and that has built up my desire to play the sequel. If Nintendo can deliver lots of fresh content, then I’m on board to being a squid again! I mean, being a kid again?

7. Super Bomberman R

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I love the art for this game!

My hype for Super Bomberman R may be mistaken for mere excitement that the adorable bomb-dropping mascot is alive. But I’m sincerely excited for classic 8-player bomb battles and a cooperative 2-player story mode. I’ve never played the series online, so I’m also looking forward to the mayhem that will ensue. It will be a blast (pun intended) to play when it launches this Friday.

6. Yooka-Laylee

 

 

 

 

 

I grew up in the heyday of Rare’s 3D collectathon platformers like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. The talented creators of these classic games have opened a new studio to bring that experience back to the forefront. The team at Playtonic Games have been hard at work on Yooka-Laylee since 2015, and the finished product will be joining the Switch’s ever-growing lineup in April. As a huge fan of the genre, I wasn’t sure that we’d ever see the return of the classic 3D collectathon. But here we are, mere weeks away from experiencing the misadventures of a chameleon and bat pair as they collect pagies throughout open sandbox worlds. In typical Rare fashion, the game will include trademark googly eyes and mine cart levels. I’d be excited for Yooka-Laylee regardless of platform, but now that it has a Switch release, I know how I’ll be playing it!

5. Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!

 

 

 

What is Snipperclips anyway? It’s as hard to explain both what it is and why I’m excited for it. The Treehouse Live video does a great job showing where the potential fun lies, so that would be a great start. Essentially, it’s a cooperative game in which each player uses a Joy-Con to control a cartoonish bullet-shaped creature with legs. If one player stands directly in front of the other, he can clip off a segment of his partner, completely altering his shape. For instance, you can erase your partner’s bullet-shaped tip to create a scooper, which you’ll need to pick up a basketball.

It’s something that we haven’t seen before, and that breath of originality is what we need in this era of sequels and remakes. Working together with a friend to accomplish goals like sharpening a pencil is bound to cause limitless hilarious outcomes. Combined with the charmingly silly faces, this game will likely be a riot at get-togethers. We don’t have to wait long for it either, since Nintendo is releasing Snipperclips at launch this Friday! Snip!

4. Xenoblade Chronicles 2

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I’m really feeling it!

Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles X was one of my favorite games on Wii U. Its hybrid turn-based action battle system easily won my RPG-loving heart. However, it didn’t have the heartfelt character-driven story of the first Xenoblade Chronicles. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be a sequel to that original game. We don’t know too much beyond the initial reveal trailer. But if the other games in the series are any indication, we will be treated to a gorgeous world where if you can see it, you can reach it. Hopefully, the Switch’s more powerful hardware will allow XBC2 to live up to the lofty standards that the humongous predecessors have set. The release is currently scheduled for 2017, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the developers needed more time to create this expansive RPG. Either way, I’m ready to set dozens of hours into it when it launches.

3. Fire Emblem Warriors

 

 

Fire Emblem has been gaining so much traction these past few years, thanks to the success of Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. In fact, a FE-focused Nintendo Direct revealed an upcoming mainline title for Switch. But I’m currently more excited about the forthcoming Fire Emblem Warriors, the spinoff that combines the hack-and-slash gameplay of Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors with the likable characters and wartorn countries of Fire Emblem. The FE series had a previous Wii U crossover with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, but Fire Emblem Warriors is poised to service the fans more with direct references to the franchise proper. My wife and I enjoyed playing Hyrule Warriors together because of its fun gameplay and nods to the beloved series. Now that she’s suddenly become a huge FE fan thanks to Fire Emblem Heroes, we will be sure to enjoy Warriors when it ships later this year.

2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Breathtaking

I’ve written quite a bit about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ever since its unveiling from E3 2016. There’s so much more I could say about this exciting open-world title that takes the series to its humble adventurous roots. Of course, the game is more than humble, promising a massive continent to explore and hundreds of puzzle-filled shrines. BotW offers unique tools and a gigantic playground to experiment on. But I’m most excited about having my own personalized journey through this new land. Based on the freedom within the first area alone, no two playthroughs will be identical. Much like the first Legend of Zelda, BotW will allow you to explore at your leisure, letting your curiosity be your guide. And that’s exactly all I could have asked for from the newest entry in the Zelda series. I’ll be looking forward to diving into this long-awaited epic this Friday!

1. Super Mario Odyssey

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I hope Mario catches his hat.

Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Super Mario 64, so much that I’ve been playing it profusely to prepare for an upcoming passion project. The Super Mario Odyssey reveal trailer showed us that the game will be a return to form; it’ll hearken back to the large 3D sandbox worlds of SM64 and Super Mario Sunshine, and that has me thrilled to bits! Although Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World were stellar games in their own right, they were distinctly more linear than their Nintendo 64 and GameCube predecessors. After Sunshine, I’ve been yearning for a new Mario experience where I could traverse a huge hub, jump into new worlds, and hunt for stars hidden across the map. Based on what we know so far, Super Mario Odyssey looks like it will replicate that nostalgic experience. The theme of the game is literally “jumping to an unknown world.” Coupled with dazzling visuals, strikingly juxtaposed areas, and new mechanics emphasizing Mario’s iconic cap, Super Mario Odyssey has the potential to be a game that defines the Switch. And that’s why it narrowly edges out Breath of the Wild as my most anticipated game.

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Switch it up soon!

Conclusion

There are more games that I’m looking forward to, but but these are my ten most anticipated titles. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much depth the Switch’s first year will have, from the most beloved Nintendo franchises to an armful of new IPs. We’re truly entering a new age of Nintendo consoles, and I hope that the company delivers an experience surpassing the Wii U’s. We’ll see once the Switch finally launches on March 3!

What are your most anticipated Switch games? Will you be getting the Switch at launch? What games would you like to see most on the console/handheld hybrid? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!